Brothers and Sisters,
As proud Union Sisters and Brothers we unite to gain better wages, benefits, and working conditions. All laboring people have better standards of living when Unions are strong. Yet, we have powerful enemies that seek to divide us and diminish our power. Those that would thwart our progress gain the upper hand when we fight each other instead of sticking to our agenda.
The political arena is filled with divisive issues that keep us arguing. However, we must engage in order to survive. Formulating a plan and finding solid political allies are good first steps. Our plan must not only be reactive by fighting measures taken against the Labor Movement but also proactive by going on the offensive. Our allies must support our common cause – the Labor Movement.
I had the opportunity to participate in the Texas State Association of Electrical Workers Convention (TSAEW) in June where I was voted in as the new Legislative Director. The Legislative Committee came up with a plan and listed 35 items on the TSAEW agenda. Some of those action items ask Union Sisters and Brothers to become more active and engage with politics.
Here are a few highlights off that list:
- The Association shall support legislation allowing public employees the right to collective bargaining and dues check off.
- The Association shall make the elimination of the Right to Work Law an active priority in all legislative sessions until the repeal of the law.
- The Association shall oppose any detrimental changes in the Davis Bacon/Prevailing Wage Laws, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Service Contract Act and OSHA. Encourage all Unions to assist contractors in participating in Davis Bacon Prevailing Wage Surveys.
- The Association shall pursue legislation to support Davis Bacon language and end substandard work in our school districts and educational facilities and support legislation to penalize those who cheat and cut corners in the name of profit.
We urge all union members and their families to register and vote in all elections and encourage participation in precinct, county, state and national conventions and encourage our members to run for public office, including school boards and city councils and seek appointments to boards and commissions.
We shall seek legislation requiring that all contractors and subcontractors on public projects provide health care and workers comp. for all their employees.
The TSAEW also emphasized the need for more Labor-friendly candidates and holding legislators accountable. The Labor Movement would not be where it is at today without legislation and our political allies. For better or worse, our elected officials affect our lives. The more friends we have in the legislature the stronger we are.
You can help by finding out who represents you and telling them that your voice counts. Ask them to support Unions and Apprenticeships. Tell them that you are constituents and Labor-friendly issues matter to you and your families. Candidates should be coming up to us and asking what THEY can do for US not the other way around! Support those candidates that support Labor.
Our ancestors fought hard for our rights and privileges. We continue to fight to maintain or regain them. Our enemies are wealthy and have accumulated power. We have each other – power in numbers. We work hard for the wages and benefits to support our families. Don’t let any political agenda take that away. I can think of no stronger bonds that that of family. Real power is when we respect each other as Sisters and Brothers.
In the upcoming political seasons, don’t allow our enemies to split us up. Remember our agenda and support each other. Be a force of good that cuts through the chaos and division. Be a force of compassion that unites.
In Solidarity, Kasey Lansangan, Card No. 7865835